Typical advice for college freshmen — tips on not gaining the "Freshman 15" and not maxing out credit cards — is rarely enough to make students feel prepared. What about parking? Or how to enjoy yourself in a strange city? Students and recent graduates of area colleges and universities shared their campus-specific tips with Gambit. Here they are, along with five New Orleans-specific bits of advice.
DELGADO COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Don't feed the ducks, because they will never leave you alone.
Support the Dolphin baseball team; they're pretty good.
Chimes Textbook Exchange is across the street from campus and offers competitive prices on books and supplies.
To get a parking decal, you must show your automobile registration and proof of insurance.
Take advantage of resources included in tuition such as computer labs, trial software, job fairs and tutoring.
The "spacious green" tends to get mucky on rainy days, so make sure you have galoshes, an umbrella and a raincoat.
Follow the university's social media accounts, DillardUniversity on Facebook and @DU1869 on Twitter, to stay current on campus events and notices.
If you need to work in the library computer lab, arrive early to secure the best workstation.
Kearny Hall, the university's student center, serves red beans and fried chicken on Monday and fish on Friday.
"Never miss Dr. Gary Clark's class, because, 'If you miss, you flunk.'"
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY NEW ORLEANS
You can use your Wolfbucks at Loyola and Tulane dining facilities, but you can't use them to tip.
If you park on Palmer Avenue for more than two hours, you'll probably get a $40 ticket.
There's usually free food on campus, especially at meetings held Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12:15 p.m. and 2 p.m. at The Window.
The Student Government Association serves free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Thursdays, king cake during Carnival and various other snacks the rest of the year.
You can watch movies for free through the Film Buffs screening program, and you can rent wide-release DVDs from the university library.
NUNEZ COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Bring a jacket to class, because the classrooms are always chilly.
Never use your credit card at vending machines; a $3 convenience fee is added to each transaction.
Read the bulletin boards to keep up with campus events and important deadlines.
Make sure you have your financial aid squared away before class — and verify it with the staff more than once.
Buying books online is usually cheaper than buying from the bookstore.
OUR LADY OF HOLY CROSS COLLEGE
Try to participate in campus-wide events, like crawfish boils, holiday parties and cabbage ball games.
Volunteering is part of the lifestyle at Our Lady of Holy Cross, so commit to some service projects throughout the year.
Though the student body is small, you'll find many of the same clubs, professional organizations and sports teams bigger schools have.
SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AT NEW ORLEANS
Don't try to befriend the stray animals on campus; not all are friendly.
It is cheaper to print in the lab at the new science building than to print in the library.
Be friendly to the workers in the administrative offices (treats are always appreciated) so they will remember you when you need help in a crunch.
The best day to eat at the cafeteria is Friday, when the menu is fried fish and fixings.
Make these women love you, because they run everything: Ms. Brenda in humanities, Ms. Patty in science and math and Ms. Sally Novatney.
Volunteer pregame to score free Pelicans tickets, even for playoff games.
"Avoid Bruff Commons."
Explore moderately priced restaurants near campus, like Satsuma Cafe, Milk Bar and Ba Chi Canteen (more here).
For local organic food on campus, go to Hillel's Kitchen.
Get to know your professors. Many of them have interesting hobbies outside the classroom.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS
The best study spots in the library are on the third floor.
Wait until the first week of school to buy books.
Park in the white lines instead of the yellow ones.
You can get tutoring from the Writing Center and the Math Center.
Go to Jazz at the Sandbar and get to know local musicians.
XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA
The walk from Xavier South to the main campus is quite a trek.
You may not need a parking decal because there are plenty of places to park in the neighborhood.
Be extra sweet to campus police, dorm monitors and cafeteria workers.
Attend events on The Yard and in the University Center to meet your classmates and collegians from throughout the city.
Acquaint yourself with the staff of the Counseling and Wellness Center in your first week, then visit throughout the year to stay on track.
If someone you don't know asks you to play a $20 shell game, decline and keep your money.
There are substantial fees associated with using the Higher One card, so opt out of it at the comptroller's office or on the Higher One website.
When someone in New Orleans asks, "How ya doin'?" the correct response is, "How ya doin'?"
Make friends with locals, so you get a real New Orleans experience, unlike what you see in college brochures and on television shows and movies.